Get ready for Q4 Sales by researching 2019 consumer technology trends…
and learn how to maximize in-store sales
Updated July 2, 2019
Q4 is rapidly approaching. Don’t throw a dart and guess what’s going to be hot in Q4 sales. Forecasting and research will help minimize the risks and develop a solid game plan for the big holiday shopping season.
Forecasting and improving Q4 sales
You cannot afford to approach Q4 with a casual attitude. It’s time to do some serious planning. Ask the big questions and figure out the best strategies to make Q4 a big win for your store.
1. Review what you did last Q4
- What sold and why?
- What didn’t sell and why?
- Based on feedback from your sales force on the floor, what should you have stocked?
- Were there customer complaints about the kinds, quality and quantity of merchandise?
2. What’s happening now?
- Have your operating costs significantly increased and have you added or subtracted sales staff?
- Are more or fewer people coming to your store than last year?
- Has your shopper profile changed?
- What are your online reviews like? Fix those problems.
- Are you having to raise prices, especially if import tariffs are in play?
- Are your existing products declining in sales, perhaps because there’s something better out there?
- Have you added new stock that’s slow to move?
- Have you asked your sales force what people are looking for now?
The takeaway is this: Take a hard look at your sales numbers. Be sensitive to store demographics and what customers are looking for. Use this information to more realistically anticipate this year’s Q4 sales.
For more in-depth steps, visit infoentrepreneurs.org. Although designed for business with sales teams, there is useful information you can mine.
Knowing what’s hot and trending for better Q4 sales
The Consumer Technology Association released their 21st Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study. Not only does it show what people currently own, but what they intend to buy in 2019. This insider knowledge will help you stock what’s hot when it comes to consumer technology trends.
10 consumer technology products that households intend to buy in 2019
- Smartphone—38% plan to buy
- Wireless earbuds—27% plan to buy
- TV—26% plan to buy; of those, 56% will buy a smart TV, 34% of them will buy 4K UHD, 67% will choose a screen between 40 to 59 inches
- Wired earbuds—25% plan to buy
- Notebook, laptop or netbook—24% plan to buy
- Wireless headphones—22% plan to buy
- Digital media streaming device—21% plan to buy
- Wearable fitness tracker—19% plan to buy
- Smart watch—18% plan to buy
- Videogame console—17% plan to buy
10 trending products for 2019, based on growth in ownership from 2018 to 2019
- Smart speaker—ownership has increased 94%, from 16% to 31% of households
- Pet technology—ownership has increased 67%, from 6% to 10% of households
- Rearview or dash cam—ownership has increased 60%, from 10% to 16%
- Smart thermostat—ownership has increased 44%, from 9% to 13%
- VR headset—ownership has increased 36%, from 11% to 15%
- Sound bar—ownership has increased 30%, from 23% to 30%
- Portable device for hands-free calling in vehicles—ownership has increased 30%, from 20% to 26%
- Recreational drone—ownership has increased 30%, from 10% to 13%
- Smart watch—ownership has increased 28%, from 18% to 23%
- Portable gaming device—has increased 24%, from 21% to 26%
10 smart home products that households intend to buy in 2019
- Speakers—20% intend to buy
- Light bulbs—18% intend to buy
- Door bell—17% intend to buy
- Home security camera—14% intend to buy
- Thermostat—12% intend to buy
- Door lock—11% intend to buy
- Robotic vacuum—11% intend to buy
- Appliance—10% intend to buy
- Plug—10% intend to buy
- Hub—9% intend to buy
Retail selling tips for better Q4 sales
Now that you have an idea about what’s trending and what you can stock from them that fits your store’s wheelhouse, let’s turn to the nuts and bolts of your store’s operation.
Pre-Q4 sales groundwork prep tips:
- Diversify, diversify, diversify your stock. Carry things from businesses that might have left the area or items that others simply don’t. Stock enough variety that your shoppers will be able to find something for everyone on their gift list. Don’t forget to offer installation services!
- Use social media. If potential shoppers can’t find you somewhere online, you’ll not even be on their radar as a potential shopping place. Use it to tease new products and promote sales and events.
- If you need to hire extra staff, do it by September so you have a chance to train them on your products so they can be true information sources. Also show them how to relate to and connect with shoppers. Encourage staff to have positive and open communication with customers—rephrasing negative outcomes with positive words and offering alternative options show your customers that you’re sensitive to their needs and genuinely want to help them.
- Take a hard look at the physical condition of the store. Does it need sprucing up? Are there areas with questionable odors? Dust the shelves, get rid of the carpet stains, fix the carpet tears and repaint. First impressions are all important.
Q4 sales in-store tips:
- Create bundles and pre-wrapped gifts. Group accessories and main products together, like the right batteries with a toy, or laptop sleeves, mice and keyboards over with the computers. Placing pre-wrapped gifts by a display of unwrapped versions helps last-minute shoppers simply grab and go.
- Offer gift cards. You make money twice that way, because most people using gift cards spend over the face value. Also accept mobile payments and create installment plans.
- Set a mood, appeal to the senses and make your store a more compelling shopping experience with seasonal decoration, treasure hunts, events and in-store entertainment. These are things shoppers can’t experience online.
- Make sure your staff members stand out from the customers so visitors can easily find help. Train your staff to know the difference between a shopper and a consumer and how to interact with them accordingly. Shoppers embrace browsing around and can be tempted with great displays and interactive experiences. Consumers are on a mission to find specific products, then they’re out the door, but may need help differentiating the finer details between two products.
Tips for Q4 sales checkout and add-ons:
- Have an impulse buy area!
- Many consumers are aware of environmental issues. Are you using plastic bags and plastic drinking straws? Offer alternatives.
- Be sure to capture customer details when they check out. Use this information to bolster social media posts and create tailored emails to thank them and keep them informed of upcoming sales.
- Offer gift wrapping and same-day delivery through apps and local delivery services. And if you have installation services, make that clear at the checkout counter as well as throughout the store.
Final words of advice for better Q4 sales…and beyond
Make yourself indispensable to the local community. According to an article by the Consumer Technology Association, independent retailers have a big advantage when it comes to customer service. You can offer clarity amid a confusing welter of seemingly similar products. By truly knowing the products you sell, as well as competitive ones you don’t, you can provide advice and help your customers make the right choice. And, if you contribute to your community by making donations to local charities, support local schools and hire locally, you up the trust factor people place in your business.
Q4, although important, is seasonal. Your store must thrive the other three quarters of the year too. Use the lessons of Q4 to keep your store fresh and relevant all year long.
To help keep you stocked with the latest, greatest tech, be sure to visit petra.com!